LUSU reps need student opinions on uni during the pandemic

‘It takes less than five minutes, but the data that we get will be so useful’

Lancaster University Students’ Union undergraduate faculty reps, Noah Katz and Sam Davis, are spearheading a campaign to ensure that student voices are heard regarding their experience with the university during the pandemic.

To learn more about the campaign, and the survey that students can fill out to help it succeed, we spoke to FASS UG faculty rep, Noah Katz, to discuss their ideas behind it. 

‘It’s really bloody hard to do uni during a pandemic’

Noah said: “The idea came to me back in November during what was the second lockdown, following a conversation with my grandparents. It was the first time I’d properly explained what it was like being a student during a pandemic… 

“It’s based on the idea that it’s really bloody hard to do uni during a pandemic, especially when the university might not have adapted as they should have done.

“A lecturer of mine used this metaphor of a normal university experience being like a clothesline. One end of the line is lectures, and the other end is seminars. Normally, in between, there would be a schedule. With online lectures you don’t have a schedule, so one of the pegs falls down and all your clothes are on the floor. That’s what uni felt like, for me at least. And it got me thinking that this can’t just be me.”

‘You can’t just look at one area’

Noah has teamed up with FST rep, Sam Davis, to release a questionnaire that asks students across the university about their experiences. Noah said: “We’re acknowledging the fact that you can’t just look at one area. You can’t look at education without looking at the impacts of mental health on performance. But then your educational performance is going to impact your mental health. There’s this whole holistic picture that we need to look at.

“We came up with four key areas that we wanted to get opinions on: teaching, assessment, wellbeing and mental health, and careers. We want to know about what the university’s provisions are like, anyway, but specifically how they’ve adapted them to the pandemic. We’ve been really lucky to secure funding; prizes of £50, £75, and £125 for three lucky people who fill in the survey.”

‘We want the truth’

The survey, which takes less than five minutes to fill out, consists of a few scale questions and a couple of opportunities to type out opinions. After all the data is collected, LUSU representatives will compile it into a report and take it to the relevant university bodies. Noah said: “We want to understand, on a union side, how students have coped. We want to see how people have actually felt so that the information can shape how we provide more support in the future. 

“We also want to show the uni that some of the things they are saying aren’t reflective of what students think. We want to give them our results and say: “Look, this was the reality. This is how students feel.” We want the truth. We want to hear what’s gone wrong, and what’s gone well. We need to know what the reality has been like so we can keep best practice and fix the things that have gone wrong.”

The survey is running until Monday June 7th, and provides students not only with the opportunity to win some money, but to also ensure they are heard when it comes to issues that have been central to the student experience over the past year. 

You can find the student survey on the LUSU website here. 

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